The damage Hurricane Matthew wreaked last week as it barreled along the Eastern seaboard is leading this week to a massive increase in requests for repair services, appeals to the online service HomeAdvisor indicate.

Bradley Hunter, HomeAdvisor's chief economist, began Tweeting out the numbers Wednesday morning, comparing “service requests” coming through the HomeAdvisor system on Oct. 10 compared with the same day last year. Here's what he found in three geographic markets that have been hit particularly hard:

1) Myrtle Beach, S.C.
a. Requests for installation of new windows (3 to 5 windows) are up 132.7% versus the same day last year
b. Requests for a repair to a tile roof are up 83.3%
c. Requests to repair a portable generator are up 80.0%

2) Savannah, Ga.
a. Requests for installation of new windows (6 or more windows) are up 37.4%
b. Requests for repair work on tile roof rose 120.0% (and up 51.4%)
c. Requests for tree services were up 61.9%, many of these to deal with hanging branches, toppled trees, or trees that are now interfering with power lines

3) Jacksonville, Fla.
a. Requests for a professional to repair a portable generator are up 240.9%
b. Requests for tree trimming services are up 46.9%
c. Requests for help with doors and windows are up 24.1%

According to Reuters, roughly 4,000 people have sought refuge in storm shelters in North Carolina, along with the town of Lumber River where water covered the city of 21,000 people and businesses flooded. The storm is estimated to have led to 7,000 destroyed homes and $3 billion in damages in the state.

Hunter's thoughts:

“We dodged a bullet” is the most frequent summary for most people on Florida’s east coast, when referring to Hurricane Matthew. It could certainly have been far worse, but even as “lucky” as most of us were, there are thousands dealing with water damage, and there are still hundreds of thousands of people without power. Plus, flooding caused by extraordinary rainfall is still affecting people in North Carolina, and not just in the coastal towns.

HomeAdvisor has always noted, in past hurricanes, that there is a sustained increase in home improvement spending for many weeks, and this situation will be no different.

This storm looked on Thursday like it was headed straight for West Palm Beach, but in the end, most West Palm Beach residents had little more than broken branches on some trees and debris in their pools (although some mobile homes were devastated). One near-term boost for home improvement spending in this area will likely be the “wake-up-call effect.” Some people who have not yet installed shutters or impact glass will make it a higher priority before next season, given the near-miss.

HomeAdvisor serves to connect homeowners with service providers who do window replacements, water damage mitigation, generator purchases, rentals and repairs, roof repairs, and many other services.